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3 Stats From 2020 That You Need To Know To Plan for 2021

Our first episode of 2021 is a little different. Zach has hand-picked three of the most significant statistics from the mountains of 2020 data that he believes will help you — building materials manufacturers — think strategically about your online presence in 2021.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

More About This Show

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

The building materials industry, which is often criticized for being slow to change, spent much of 2020 adapting to serious change. Setbacks and quarantine restrictions all required flexibility (and a healthy dose of determination) from everyone.

The discomfort change brings isn’t something many people invite unless the future forces their hand. 2020 was a catalyst for some much-needed flexibility, evolution and advancement in the industry.

As a result, we learned a lot last year. The circumstances from the last 12 months have certainly delivered some stunning and, maybe, even some surprising numbers.

109 Growth Across The Building Materials Industry

23% Revenue Growth

The second business quarter of 2020 brought Home Depot a 23% revenue increase from 2019. “The actual dollar amount for this was $38 billion, which is just absurd,” says Zach.

There was huge growth across the building materials industry in Q2, even during a global pandemic.

Zach recalls talking to Ryan Galick, Marketing Director at Fuzion Flooring, several months ago about how they were weathering the storm. Zach was fascinated to learn that they were doing quite well because their biggest competitor, trips to Hawaii, couldn’t compete with them due to travel restrictions.

Ryan explained that his customers would either spend money on remodeling their house, which including adding new flooring, or they would spend money on a trip going to Hawaii.

The home is where many customers were forced to spend their time so that is where they choose to spend their disposable income.

“They're in their homes. They're frustrated. They can't go out. And so they're stuck staring at their walls, and they're either (a) remodeling or (b) building or moving into a new home,” explains Zach.

“There's a lot of economic reasons why the [building materials industry] saw huge growth,” says Zach, “If we look at the indicators for this next year, there's a lot of stats and data out there supporting the fact that we're going to see another very strong year.”

This first stat shows the magnitude of the growth and should be an indicator of “how hot the industry is continuing to burn.”

There was another interesting statistic that also helps explained Home Depot’s specific success this year.

22% Website Traffic Growth

According to Verizon, the internet saw a surge of activity at the start of the pandemic: there was a 22% increase in website traffic.

“I don't believe that this will continue into this next year, if we compare year over year,” Zach explains. “But the reality and the truth is, people are spending more time online than they ever have before. Many people, they're in quarantine or lockdown, they're trying to distance themselves, and people are spending more time online because that's how we can connect with others.”

The pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to online shopping by roughly five years, according to data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index.

So how can building materials manufacturers use this stat strategically to level up their online presence? Ensure you are creating an online frictionless experience for your customers.

“There's never been a better time,” says Zach, “because it's the number one place that your audience is looking, where they're finding information, and how they're sourcing information and new products.”

Zach acknowledges that not every manufacturer needs to be doing ecommerce. You have to think about if it's the right decision for your business. The shift to online that has taken place has been extraordinary.

Take inspiration from Home Depot as they really do know what they’re doing online. (We discussed this in a previous podcast episode.)

One thing is certain, even in uncertain times: Internet and media consumption will continue to grow. “And people are trying to find new products and find new brands,” says Zach.

Which makes the third statistic even more compelling.

109 32 Per Cent of Professional Customers Used a New Brand or Product

32% of Professional Customers Used a New Brand or Product

We surveyed building materials professionals in 2020 — architects, builders, remodelers, and contractors — 32% of them used a product that was new to them in 2020, and they liked it better.

Venveo and The Farnsworth Group spent considerable time researching and reporting on the effects of COVID-19 on your customers’ behaviors and buying habits. This was one of the statistics that got us pretty excited.

“What I think is really telling is it's not just they used a new one, they actually liked it better,” says Zach. “If we dig into this actual dataset, we see that 66% of professionals who indicated the new brand that they purchased was either much better or somewhat better than the typical brand that they used.”

How did they find a new brand? If the second stat didn’t give the answer away, it was online.

“If we understand how people searched and found new products during the pandemic, a lot of it, I think almost half of it, was they found brands via ads or online marketing. And they also found new products via the brand's website,” says Zach.

How you connect with your customers online is key, so a functional, navigable, frictionless website isn’t just a nice-to-have anymore. It’s a non-negotiable.

“They're in research mode, and they want to find products that are number one, available; that work in their projects; and that bring some sort of new value proposition to them,” explains Zach.

It appears that for the time being the shifts and changes in the industry and your audience’s research and buying habits are here to stay. With marketing and sales becoming even more data-driven, we hope these three key stats from 2020 help your strategy be more effective.

Want Even More Insight?

Stay tuned to our podcast for more insights, interviews and statistics to help you grow in 2021. If you want to be a guest speaker on our podcast or you have a topic you would like us to cover on an upcoming episode, email [email protected].

Show Notes and Resources

IBM’s U.S. Retail Index